Palace hails DOJ indictment of high-profile drug personalities

Published July 20, 2018, 9:15 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang hailed the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reverse its earlier ruling on drug personalities Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Co, among others.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after the DOJ announced that it has found probable cause to press charges against the said drug personalities, reversing an earlier resolution which cleared them of criminal liabilities.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque speaks during a press briefing at the New Executive Building in Malacanang, Friday. (CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque

According to Roque, Malacañang is elated that high-profile drug personalities like Espinosa and Co will be held accountable for conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade.

“The Palace is very pleased that the wheels of justice are turning to hold them accountable,” Roque said.

In a press statement, the DOJ said that the new prosecution panel found probable cause against the respondents to charge them with conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade, or for violation of Section 26 (b) in relation to Section 5, Article II of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

According to the DOJ, the panel also relied on Espinosa’s confession in the Senate about his participation in the drug trade.

Earlier, the DOJ cleared the drug suspects of their criminal liability due to insufficiency of evidence. According to Malacañang, President Duterte was not happy with the decision.

Duterte then warned then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II that he will send him to jail instead if the said high-profile drug suspects would go unpunished.

Following Duterte’s warning, Aguirre ordered a “wide open review” of the complaint that allowed the parties to submit the necessary evidence.

The controversial decision led to the resignation of Aguirre as Justice Secretary last April. Duterte appointed former Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra to the post vacated by Aguirre.

Read more: DOJ 2nd panel finds probable cause to indict Espinosa, Co and 2 others